Sindh budget 2024-25: When it comes to Karachi uplift, Sindh tightens its belt for second year in a row (2024)

• No new mega scheme for metropolis
• Rs1.389bn for 11 ongoing city development projects
• Murad announces allocations for K-IV, S-III, KCR and BRT lines
• Govt prioritises crucial initiatives for ‘every sector’, says Sharjeel

KARACHI: For the second consecutive year, the Sindh government of the Pakistan Peoples Party has not announced any new mega development scheme for Karachi in its budget for the financial year 2024-25.

While Mayor Murtaza Wahab of the PPP had recently demanded a comprehensive package for Karachi uplift from the federal government, his own party has ignored the country’s commercial capital in its Rs3.056 trillion provincial budget.

Documents show Karachi gets no new infrastructure development scheme in the head of Sindh government’s “Mega Schemes for Karachi City” in the ADP 2023-24.

However, the provincial government has allocated Rs1.389 billion for 11 ongoing ‘mega schemes’ in Karachi in the financial year 2024-25.

The biggest allocation of Rs1bn in the financial year 2024-25 was made for the construction of Korangi Causeway followed by Rs100m for construction of a storm-water drain from M-9 to Thaddo Nalla via Mehran Drain, Rs81.2m for rehabilitation of Nehr-i-Khayam in Clifton, Rs75.09m for rehabilitation and widening of a road from Razakabad to Sheedi Goth Power House, Rs48.73m for construction of main road/streets paver block in Sachal Goth, Rs44.08m for construction of Dual Carriageway Road from Nasir Brohi Hotel towards Mubarak Village and Rs40.05m for repair of Manzoor Colony drain.

‘No new schemes’

While Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in his budget speech in the Sindh Assembly on Friday announced allocations for the long-delayed schemes like the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), Greater Karachi Sewerage Plan (S-III), Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV), he made it clear that there “will be No New Schemes” under the next fiscal year’s Annual Development Programme (ADP) “because of the impact of BSR [Basic Schedule of Rates] and CSR [Composite Schedule of Rates]”.

“During preparation of ADP 2024-25, the Sindh government has decided to complete maximum number of schemes continued for the last 10 years. Therefore, full funds are provided equivalent to current throw-forward till date to the schemes with expenditure more than 70pc or having current throw-forward less than Rs50 million.

“Similarly, 50pc allocation is provided to those schemes having current throw-forward in between Rs50m & Rs100m million. There were other regular schemes which have been provided 20pc allocation of current throw-forward due to fiscal constraints,” he said in the budget speech.

Rs3.6bn for Peoples Bus Service

The chief minister announced that the Sindh government was in the process of initiating more routes and adding more buses to the fleet under the Peoples Bus Service initiative “by anticipated induction of further 500 Eco Friendly Electric Buses on rent to own model”.

“Accordingly, funds amounting to Rs3.66bn in aggregate are proposed to be kept for FY 2024-25 for subsidy in order to keep Peoples Bus Service operational,” he added.

Budget documents show the Sindh government allocated Rs2.79bn on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Red Line project while Rs69.7m allocated for Yellow Line.

JI condemns PPP for ‘neglecting’ Karachi

While Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Ali Khursheedi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan said that the party could not lodge a protest since it got budget books very late, it was the Jamaat-i-Islami that condemned the PPP for “neglecting” Karachi in the provincial budge 2024-25.

“It is a matter of concern and sorrow that the PPP government failed to launch any new development project in the mega city, whereas there is ambiguity in allocation of funds for the ongoing development schemes,” said JI-Karachi chief Munem Zafar.

In a statement, he said Karachi contributes by 95pc in the tax collected by the province but the “PPP government has always neglected the city when it comes to development”.

He was of the view that 50 to 60pc revenue generated by Karachi should be spent on its already ruined infrastructure.

“Unfortunately, the K-IV water supply project and the mass transit sector in Karachi are badly neglected in the budget. Allocation of only Rs45m for the KCR project is a joke to Karachi and Karachiites,” he said.

“We don’t want the government to spend all the resources in Karachi; other areas of Sindh should also be developed but the practice of using public sector funds as political bribery should come to an end,” he added.

Muttahida rejects budget

Speaking at a press conference, the opposition leader Khurshidi said that the MQM-P rejected the provincial budget.

“Our MPAs will lodge a strong protest during the debate on the budget in the Sindh Assembly session,” he said.

However, he said that the MQM-P wanted to build a good working relationship with the PPP and it would plead the case of Sindh in a ‘democratic manner’.

Talking to the media after the budget session, Sindh Senior Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that the provincial government had prioritised crucial initiatives, including the largest flood-affected housing project in the country’s history. “The budget includes provisions for every important sector to alleviate the suffering of the people,” he added.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2024

Sindh budget 2024-25: When it comes to Karachi uplift, Sindh tightens its belt for second year in a row (2024)
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